Colorado State University's Carr fights to get his shot off under pressure from Murray State University's Canaan during the first half of play in their NCAA basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville

Second ACL tear ends career of Colorado State guard Jesse Carr


Prior to the start of the 2012-13 season Colorado State guard Jesse Carr, who posted averages of 7.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as a redshirt junior, was expected to be valuable piece for Larry Eustachy’s Rams. But a torn ACL changed that, requiring Carr to sit out the entire 2012-13 season.

Carr received a sixth season of eligibility, and with the Rams losing all five starters from last season’s NCAA tournament team he was expected to provide some needed experience in 2013-14. However Carr re-tore his ACL, which will not only rule him out for this season but result in the end of his college career. Colorado State announced the sad news on Wednesday.

“This is just a devastating injury,” Eustachy said in the release. “Jesse worked harder than anyone to get healthy and get back on the court. This is going to be an extremely tough time for him, but our coaching staff and the entire program are behind him.”

With Carr now out the Rams are left with juniors Jonathan Octeus and Daniel Bejarano as their most experienced perimeter players. Bejarano averaged 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his first season as a Ram after transferring in from Arizona, winning Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year honors. Octeus was also a valuable reserve last season, posting averages of 4.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Given CSU’s heavy personnel losses both were already needed to raise their production in 2013-14; the loss of Carr means that they way in which Bejarano and Octeus perform as on-court leaders becomes even more important. Colorado State also has redshirt junior Dwight Smith, who sat out all of last season, sophomore Joe DeCiman and three freshmen (Enrico Bueno, David Cohn and Carlton Hurst) competing for minutes on the perimeter.

It’ll be tough for the Rams to account for the on-court experience lost with Carr re-injuring his knee, but it’s even tougher to digest the way in which Carr’s CSU career has come to an end.

“Since this is all new I don’t exactly know what my plan is going forward,” Carr stated. “I do know that while I am here I want to help the team and coaches in any way possible.

“I also realize how lucky I am to have received the education that I did, and even luckier to have been around the people that I’ve been around here at CSU. It has been a rollercoaster-like experience but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.